Day 31: Milpitas to Pebble Beach, CA

Well, I made it! 3,500-plus miles from Long Island, New York, to Pebble Beach, California. What an amazing trip! Bruce from Development and Tom, an Notre Dame alumnus, rode with me again today. It was a pretty hilly ending when we rolled into Pebble Beach on 17-mile drive. The Monterrey landscape is beautiful, with rolling sand dunes just about everywhere. We had a big dinner event on the pier at Pebble Beach with all of the golfers and guests last night. It is the largest turnout ever, since the Pebble Beach fundraiser began four years ago. Mike and Cindy Parseghian dunked the front bike tire in the Pacific with me at the evening event, signifying the end of my ride. It is going to be an incredible weekend.IMG_3530 Read more »

Day 29: South Lake Tahoe to Sacramento, CA

Today was an incredible day of riding. I had several riders join me today—Bruce from Development, as well as Tom and Scott, both Notre Dame Law alumni.

Well, the way out of Tahoe is up, up and up.  We climbed and climbed to the summit of Echo. At the top was a spectacular view where we could look back and see Lake Tahoe.

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Day 28: Fallon, NV to South Lake Tahoe, CA

Today we left Nevada and crossed the border into California.  It was a pretty mountainous ride from Fallon to South Lake Tahoe.

We made  a special stop in Reno to visit the Hempel family. Addison and Cassidy are identical twin girls who were diagnosed with NPC in October 2007 when they were four years old. Their parents, Chris and Hugh Hempel, stepped up with extraordinary courage and perseverance and joined the fight against NPC for Addi and Cassi like so many families who find themselves in such circumstances and respond with generosity and hope. In 2012, the Hempels drove to Carson City to meet me along the Road to Discovery route. This year, Addi and Cassi met me right under the Reno sign downtown with their little specialty bicycles. Seeing them was such an incredible inspiration. At the College of Science, we always say that’s it’s not just what we do, it’s why we do it. The Hempel twins are a great reason that we continue this fight against NPC. Thank you, Hempel family, for coming out to see me. Addi and Cassi, it was wonderful seeing you again—you inspire us all!

Visit with Cassi and Addi Hempel, and their dad Hugh

Visiting Cassi and Addi Hempel, and their dad Hugh

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Day 27: Ely to Fallon, NV

Today was a long and pleasant day on the road.  We were on Highway 50 the entire day, known as the loneliest highway in the country.  There were a few climbs and many down hills today.  The temperature was just right.  It was a day that was needed after the challenge of the day before.  When you looked ahead, all you could see was the long Nevada road tens of miles ahead—some stretches felt like I would never get there.  Although it was long; overall, the day was very good.

When we arrived at the hotel parking lot, I met a Notre Dame 2009 graduate and Naval Academy graduate. They are both officers on active duty and came over to ask about what we were doing.

Day 27

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Day 23: Craig, CO to Vernal, UT

Today’s ride was just as spectacular as yesterday’s from Granby to Craig. The morning started off very cold again, in the low 40s, but by the time we reached Vernal, the temperature was above 90—a 50-degree swing.  What made the ride today so special was the breathtaking shift in the landscape.

As we left Craig, the heavy rains and snow melt has left lush, green, and blooming fields everywhere—a mountainous landscape is so beautiful all covered in green.  As we approached Utah, in a span of about 10 miles, the arid, dry, brown desert landscape began to dominate.

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Day 22: Granby to Craig, CO

Today started out very cold for biking; it was just over 40 degrees when we left.  I must say that the ride from Granby to Craig was the most beautiful stretch of the trip so far. There was hardly any other traffic on the Road to Discovery, but every direction presented sheer cliffs, sagebrush, and the white rapids of the Colorado River. Most of the mountains still have snow on them.

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Day 21: Denver to Granby, CO

The day started off wonderful with an interview with KUSA/NBC and a visit to Marley Coffee in Denver.  Marley has been such a great supporter of our cause.  The company’s headquarters in Denver is the coolest headquarters ever. I was even asked to ride my bike through it.  It was great to meet the wonderful Marley employees. Thanks for all of your support.

Interview with Gary Shapiro at KUSA in Denver

Interview with Gary Shapiro at KUSA in Denver

 

Today’s journey was perhaps the roughest I have experienced in all five rides. It started off so well.  Jim, a recent Notre Dame graduate and captain of the Notre Dame Cycling Team last year, joined us for the first part of the ride to Estes Park. On the way, we climbed to 8,000 feet and then descended to about 7,000 feet.

Jim and Greg

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Day 18: Kearney to McCook, NE

The ride today was really beautiful—from the farms lands of Nebraska in and around Kearny to the western side of Nebraska where the landscape is rolling with cattle over scattered over the rolling acres of land. It was partly cloudy and the temperature was just right. We had to fight a headwind most of the way. You probably getting tired of reading that this was uneventful day, but it was.

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Day 17: York to Kearney, NE

Today was a very uneventful biking  day. There was a bit of a headwind and it was a cloudy day—the temperature never reached 70 degrees.

I had to burn a lot of calories from my big steak dinner from the night before with  Jim and Chances. At the end of the bike ride, I had an interview with Nebraska TV.

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Day 13: Davenport to Iowa City, IA

Today we rode from Davenport to Iowa City, a wonderful place that is home to the great University of Iowa. The day was sunny with a slight headwind—nothing to complain about—and the fields were green with fresh growth as far as the eye could see.

As we pulled into Iowa City, a reporter called and asked me to meet him at Kinnick Stadium, home of the Iowa Hawkeyes and named for the 1939 Heisman Trophy winner, Nile Kinnick.

Iowa City Read more »

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